Bum Ticker

August 30, 2014: Tony and Steve discuss life and get a visit from Agent May.

The Bus

A big plane somewhere in Syria.



  • None.

Mood Music:

So most of the trip Tony has kept to himself in the lab. After the initial set-up of his equipment, which included a fold out work station designed specifically for working on his arc reactor. The housing brackets, held up in something like a claw for easy access to the wiring along the underside of the device, extends up from the case and sits on a spinning axis so that he never even has to move to get to the other side.

It's like he designed it specifically to be lazy. He prepared to be lazy.

Which does nothing to take away from exactly how little he actually sleeps. The man looks horrible. His skin is almost ash grey, clammy, eyes sunken, and he has to keep drinking these thick green smoothies… which is another device he brought: A blender.

Now he's resting in the lounge area listening to some smooth jams while everyone else does what secret agenty sorts do while on a mission. Probably drink martinis and pick up Russian model like henchwomen… that would be the life.

But if they're not going to have martinis, Tony for sure is. Though his martini is actually a glass of scotch and it's just poured in over ice. There's some Metallica playing too. Load. Quietly.

He's got the respects.


"People who looked like that used to get shipped around in pine boxes," Steve points out, clad in his uniform save for the cowl which has been pulled off of his face. No secrets here. The music causes his brow to furrow, a mixture of trying to place it and distaste brought on by the presence of a generation gap. His shield is strapped to his back – he doesn't quite feel up to leaving it lying around – and a sketchpad is held under one arm.

"You ought to get some rack time." Steve is one to talk. He doesn't seem to have slept a wink since he got on board the flying hotel. Not that it shows.


"Well if it isn't the popsicle soldier." Tony greets with a toast of his glass in Steve's direction. While he most certainly wasn't before, there's now a grin on his haggard face. Slipped right in there where a distant sort of drudgery once permeated. Like a cowl, really.

TONS of secrets here.

Now that we've mentioned the glass of scotch, Stark takes a long drink and motions to the bottle set down on the table near him, "I'll sleep when I'm drunk. Have one with me… it's as old as you are? Call it a little slice of home." Or something. He's dying, they can't all be winners.

"I prefer white oak, anyways… and barrels to boxes." Another drink, "Call me old fashioned."


"I would," Steve answers, unhooking his shield and leaning it against the legs of a stool which he then sets himself down upon. He balances his sketchpad on his knees, plucking a mechanical pencil from a pocket and beginning to trace a vague shape. "Except it'd take about a barrel of that to get me blotto. And besides, I don't drink on-mission. Thanks for the offer, though."

He glances at the bottle a moment, half-smiling. "Old as I am, though? The hooch we had was made in people's bathtubs and could double as paint remover."


"Then it isn't really drinking, is it?" Tony counters, "If it takes a barrel of it… I doubt a glass is going to be much more than a nice reminder of the finer things in life." Said while wiggling his glass so that the ice clinks around softly against the side. "I don't really like getting drunk on the good stuff. Just a taste thing."

Another of which he takes. Grinning bemusedly as it goes down warm and smooth.

Both feet come up to cross bare upon the table beside the bottle. "I've had my share of big house hooch. There's this little place in New York, I swear to god they ferment it in the toilet bowl… but it will for damn sure get you drunk." Pause, "And isn't that really the only reason to drink toilet wine? Really?"


"I suppose you'd have to ask a bootlegger."

Steve doesn't look up from his sketchpad, the faint grey lines slowly becoming darker and taking form as he draws … something. His brow knits with concentration, relishing a talent that a cocktail of chemicals and vita-ray treatments did not bestow on him. A skill that is truly his own.

"I was raised not to pry into other people's business, but I figure since we're both working with the G-Men I can get away with it. Heck, it's probably expected now. What exactly is going on with you? You don't look well enough to be out of a hospital bed."


It's those things, the ones that he's earned himself, that Tony truly relishes. Though he gilds everything in a nice shiny package of being an unrepentant playboy. Or a drunk. A lot of people think he's a drunk too. Might as well enjoy that one, by taking another drink.

"Mmm… G-Men.. I never expected I'd be working with them, let me tell ya. In fact, I spent the better part of my entire life defiantly avoiding them like the plague." Drumming his free hand against the little outlines of the glowing reactor beneath his Led Zeppelin shirt. "Well, if you must know…"

He almost starts to come up with some crazy story… then sighs and shakes his head, "What point is there lying to the most honest man on the planet? It's like… kicking a puppy or something. It just feels wrong." The glass now drained is set aside. "A few years ago I had to build an electromagnet to keep small piece of metal from piercing my heart. At the time, I used the best element on hand to power it. Now, I knew then that it was only temporary. That I would have to replace it with one that.. well… wouldn't kill me. Leaking small amounts of palladium of hazardous materials into my blood stream, which in turn, is likely to cause me to have a heart attack at any minute."

Two thumbs up. "Irony, right?"


That revelation causes Steve to cease his drawing, looking at Stark carefully. He'd honestly expected something like a cold or, more likely, a hangover that was dragging itself out to a record length. The actual situation gives him pause.

"I'll say. I'd ask if you'd spoken to anyone about it but I've done my reading on you, Mister Stark. I doubt there's anybody in the world who'll tell you something you don't already know."

He glances back down at his sketch, correcting a few lines and then looking back up. "Have you told anyone else? Somehow, I feel like Agent May wouldn't be so callous to accept you coming on a mission if she knew about your trouble."

Then again …

"Two things." Tony starts, smile already creeping back into place after speaking his piece on the unfortunate facts of his life, "Tony… please god call me Tony. I'm too young at heart to be Mister Stark by a man who's over ninety years old." One finger up, "Second thing. I don't want peoples pity."

Two fingers.

"DeeDee Hill knows, Pepper knows… a few people know that I'm looking for solutions to a problem, but I haven't gotten into how immediate a problem it is." Shrugging, Tony drops his hand and reaches out to refill the glass. Even dropping two new ice cubes in for posterity. "I've got the market cornered on immortality. Only a matter of time before I just… pop a new reactor in and wow the world with my technological superiority to everyone else on it."


"I'm not going to pity you," Steve answers, once more focused on his drawing. "It's pretty clear you aren't resigning yourself to this problem. You'll fix it. And just for your peace of mind, I'll keep it a secret … beyond that, I wish there was more I could do."

He glances down at the shield, smiling ruefully, "But if I can't hit or throw a shield at it, I'm probably not going to be much help. That doesn't mean I won't, though. The world still needs you and your flying tin can."


Tony follows the soldier's eye down to the shield, "Well, coincidentally, you actually played a larger role into whatever solution I come up with than you might think." Pointing to the weapon with two fingers. "I caught sight of that at the oil rig." Beginning his explanation, then taking a drink before continuing.

"I hope you don't mind, but I did a couple long distant scans.. you know that metal doesn't even exist?" Shaking his head, "Between us? I consorted with a couple magical people trying to duplicate it." Nodding slowly, rolling his eyes upwards with his mouth puffed out. "Which is kind of odd if you think about it. Technological super genius and Harry Potter.. Have you seen Harry Potter?" He asks while eyeing the Captain.

"If not, how about The six million dollar man? Which I'm ninety nine percent sure was a vague take on you…"


Steve nods his head, "That's the one with the little magic boy. I read them last weekend. Haven't got around to the movies yet." The mention of the Six Million Dollar Man has him drawing a blank, though. He looks once more at the shield, mouth twisting in thought.

"I wish I could help you but nobody knows what it's made out of. Myron MacLain made it while our boys were trying to put together an indestructible tank during the War. I never found out exactly what happened but he could never figure out what the catalyst was that made it."

Steve reaches down and picks up the shield, moving across the lounge to hand it to Tony. "You're welcome to take a look. It was meant to be the hatch on a new kind of M4 tank but when they couldn't make anymore, FDR had it painted and gave it to me."


Tony nods the affirmative, "The one with the cute little scar and who's terrible at magic? Yeah, that's the one…" Smirking at the thought, "If everyone heralds me as the father of modern technology but I couldn't fix a toaster, that would be pretty laughable."

What is not, is being handed ''the'' shield.

For a second he turns it over in his hands, judging the weight with a little hefting. "It's about twenty pounds lighter than I thought it would be." Admitting with a quiet laugh. "FDR?" Judge your audience Tony, judge your audience.

Whatever joke he was about to spit out, pauses in his throat and he instead hands the shield back to Steve and kicks his feet up. "I'm going to call it Trinillium." Nodding, "When I figure out the metal, I mean. I toyed with calling it something self gratiating, but that's just cliche." He snaps and points towards the Captain. "Some of the greatest things in history were complete accidents.. But not the sandwich." No, not at all, "That was very intentional." Because everyone needs a little random.


"Like penicillin."

Steve takes the shield back and puts it where it was, sitting down again and returning to the sketching he's doing. He brings his thumb to smudge a few of the lines, creating depth where there was none a moment before.

"If you can replicate it, feel free. I won't lie and say that people haven't tried though. Since you're on good terms with the brass, you might see if you can get whatever notes Doctor MacLain had on the process out of storage. He had everything but the catalyst down, if I recall."

He glances up, looking carefully across at Stark before drawing a new flurry of lines. "So, what do you plan to do? Build a new ticker out of 'Trinillium'?"


"Exactly, like penicillin."

Tony takes a slow sip off the clinking glass of scotch and settles back into the lounge chair comfortably. Or at least as comfortably as he can, given how often he's readjusting. "They have…"

Tony's lips press together into a fine line, "They have notes? They… ohhhh I can't wait to get back to the states now." It's not real anger, per se. More mock anger, "SHIELD has been helping. As much as they can anyways. This is a bit beyond most people."

He might even include himself. Maybe.

"In theory, yes. All the calculations and tests I've run say that Trinillium has three or four times the conductivity of palladium without even an ounce of harmful breakdown. So I'll probably build a new arc reactor around a two gram sliver of trinillium, bombard it with enough electrons to light a billion Christmas trees, and throw it into my chest." Nodding as if this is every day kind of stuff in Tony Stark's world. "Not like I've got anything to lose, right? I can't die ''more''."


"Right," Steve nods his head, looking over the sketch for a moment before nodding his head in self-satisfaction. "There are notes. If the brass remember that there are notes is another story entirely. I haven't seen them since they boxed them up and tucked them away in '44. Who knows where they are now. But if you need anything, just let me know."

That said, he holds up his sketchpad for his companion to see. It is a sketch in black pencil of Stark as he is at the moment. Reclining in his chair, a glass of brown in one hand. It isn't the finest piece of art ever produced but the quality is high … this is how he used to make his living, after all.


Tony drains the last bit of scotch from his glass from his glass and sets it aside once more, at least for a few minutes anyways. "I'll ask them about the notes. Knowing SHIELD, they have them buried under an original copy of the Necronomicon down in their basement guard house of infinite wonders."

"Seriously, if they've never showed you the basement, make them… because that is the single biggest room of procured oddities I've ever seen. And I build miniaturized fusion energy generators to stick in my chest."

That being said, Steve turns the drawing around and Tony mms quietly as he regards the sketch. "I really do look like hell don't I? Mirrors don't do it justice…" Shaking his head a little and running the fingers of both hands through his dark hair, "If this whole heroing thing doesn't work out for you, I bet I could get you a job at Stark Industries in marketing… or just doing all of my personal portraits. I've always wanted one of me in my Iron Man suit riding a unicorn." Waving his hand a little.

"You know, something classy."


"It used to be my day job," Steve explains with a smile, turning the sketchpad back around and closing it. "And believe it or not, your dad said the same thing. Not so much about the Iron Man riding a unicorn … more the portrait thing. I've got that sketch somewhere … "

He looks perplexed for a moment. Most of the things he didn't have on him ended up in storage after he got frozen and SHIELD is still finding out where it is all buried so they can return it to him.

"You're remarkably alike."


That, right there, is how to drain all the jokes out of Tony in a little over three words, if we're counting conjunctions. His expression doesn't overtly sour, but it certainly takes on a distant and decided skepticism when he is compared to the late Howard Stark.

"Yeah." Is it possible that he's speechless? He knew his father had met the Captain, god knows he said as much more than once while drunk. Which, if one were to ask Tony, is about the only thing the two of them share in common. Drinking and, now, meeting Steve.

"I'm sure he was a barrel of laughs. A real life of the party."


Steve sits across from Tony in the lounge of the Bus, a closed sketchbook resting on his knees and his shield resting against the legs of the stool he's perched on. It seems as though things have gone from jovial to tense in half a second flat and the air could probably be cut with a knife. The Captain, for his part, does not seem overtly bothered.

"He was a conflicted man. It can't be easy to make things that kill when you want to help make the world a better place. You do share your joie de vivre with him, though … at least when I knew him. I don't know how time might have changed that."


"Yeah, I'm sure it ate him up inside." Tony states flatly, closing in a little when the conversation circulates around his father. "From my perspective, he encouraged me into the family business building those devices that hurt people. Conflicted? I didn't see any conflict."

Tony shakes his head slowly, almost disdainfully by his expression, "You got one thing right, though. Time sure must have changed him. The man I knew, not that great…"


Melinda May arrives from having gone to talk with Trent, and walks briskly on her way through to the pilot's compartment. "Wheels up in thirty. We're heading for Morocco." Of course, she's nearly to the far entry way before she stops, noticing the tense atmosphere in the room. "Or maybe not." She takes a small step or two closer to the two men again, looking back and forth between them as if trying to figure out what's going on.


"I can't speak to that," Steve answers with a sigh, rising up from the stool and picking up his shield to place it on his back once again. "It was 70 years ago and I only knew him for a few years. I couldn't tell you what might have changed to make him that way. Only that I think he'd be proud of what you did. The reactor. The suit. The direction you took your company. All of that. The man I knew would have, at least."

That said, he begins to move towards the room designated as his bunk only to spot Agent May. "What's in Morocco?"


Tony forces a smile and shakes his head, "You knew him better than I did." Said with just as much conviction as there is loneliness, but that's all he's left to say about Howard for right now. The conversation took a pretty hard turn there and he's not the sort to hold a grudge about water way under the bridge.

Six feet under it.

Too soon?

Instead he glances towards May and up nods, "Agent. Are we going to have time to stop by a gift shop? I really should pick up some touristy stuff." Tony smirks as he too pushes up to his feet and stretches. "I'll let you two handle the logistics. I'm going to be in the lab revolutionizing blender technology." That's code for mixing his smoothie with vodka.


"Our next target. Trent uncovered intel saying HYDRA isn't just aiming for genocide, they're doing all of this to get mutants to join their side. He and some allies took a ship and he's been pulling the data from their hard drives." She looks from Steve to Tony then adds, "The ship's last port of call was Morocco. Be ready to strap in for takeoff, Stark."


"Mutants are people," Steve states plainly, shaking his head. "They won't be threatened or blackmailed into doing something. Not even by HYDRA."

He glances back towards Stark and then to May; "I'll be ready to go when you are."


Tony leans down to grab the bottle of scotch and his glass, then points over towards the lab, "I'll be strapped in back there." Walking a few steps backwards, grinning sardonically. "Technically, we're all mutants. Genetically, anyways. Like people with two different colored eyes or ruggedly handsome and unfathomably brilliant.' Motioning to himself.

"I also have really good hair." Even when he's dying and not trying very hard.

"If you have Trent send the hard drives up to us, I'll have JARVIS crack into them. Shouldn't take long… or we can do it the long way." Open for adaptation. "I'll be in here drinking to ''family''. You two, have a good'n."


Melinda May nods briefly to Tony, then looks at Steve. "I have some pre-flight checks to do." She hesitates before adding, "Do you want to help?"


"Me?" Steve can't help but seem surprised at May's question. Most people have been trying to avoid lavishing anything overly technical upon him out of fear that he will smash it in caveman frustration. He was figuring out super-technology back before most of those people were a twinkle in someone's eye. Still, he's taken it with good humor. The offer from May draws a broad smile from him, though, and he nods. "Definitely. Lead the way."

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